Q. Why are the leaves of my ming aralia turning yellow and dropping?


There are a couple of possible reasons for the leaves of ming aralia (Polyscias fruticosa) to turn yellow and drop. Sudden temperature drops to 70°F or lower can cause this tropical plant's leaves to lose their color and fall off. However, if the temperature change is gradual enough, aralias can acclimate to 65°F just fine. Drafts can cause a similar reaction. If there are no signs of pest infestation such as scale on the stems or leaves, leaf drop is probably due to changes in temperature. 

Another issue that could cause yellowing of leaves is overwatering. Most large specimens of ming aralia have virtually no roots in the top 2-3 inches of soil. For these large plants, when the soil has dried down 2 or 3 inches from the surface, water sparingly with tepid water all the way around the plant. Water early in the day, not at night. The trick is to water only enough to get some water to the bottom of the pot where the roots are, with a little water seeping from the drain holes, keeping very little in the saucer. If too much water fills the saucer, drain out the excess.

For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service


  • Last Updated Apr 02, 2018
  • Views 18250
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 52   0

Comments (2)

  1. I have 2 mings in the same type of soil but, in 2 different potting styles. The plant that is doing well is in a plastic pot placed within a non draining decorative pot. The bottom is always moist and I rarely water unless its dry. That plant is healthy as can be. The other plant which has been yellowing and dropped half its leaves is in a glazed ceramic pot that drains and dries out so, I need to water it more often, generally 3 weeks to once a month I had been keeping both plants indoors around 75-79 degrees near each other. I recently decided to put the yellowing plant outside to catch some rain and warmer weather but, leaves are continuing to yellow... Not sure what to do, as your 2 main causes are accounted for.
    by Pamelahaley on Jul 05, 2017.
  2. I have a ming aralia that has survived two years in a college dorm and then a year and a half in a middle school classroom. Easy plant! I recently repotted it from a plastic planter to ceramic. Suddenly it is miserable!! Very yellowy and droopy. Could be temperature, as you mentioned. I think I need to buy another plastic planter, and quickly.
    by Jane Barnett-Lawrence on Jan 28, 2019.

Or Submit a Quick Question Here

Your Question
Your Info
Fields marked with * are required.